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More Detail Added To Motion Picture Ratings

(Photo Credit: Thinkstock)

(Photo Credit: Thinkstock)

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – When you realize that both the 1990 Kevin Costner movie Dances with Wolves- and the 2009 movie Drag Me To Hell both have received a rating of PG-13 from the Motion Picture Association of America, you may wonder: Wow. Kevin Costner. Whatever happened to that guy? And, what does PG-13 really mean, anyway?

As to the former question, two words: Water World.

And to the latter: Ratings are given to movies by the Motion Picture Association of America (the MPAA). A PG-13 rating is a warning to parents that the content, either because of depiction of violence or sexual situations or language in the film may not be appropriate for children under 13. But that doesn’t really tell parents a lot about how inappropriate a particular film may or may not be.

The MPAA agrees and recently decided to make the reasons that a film gets a particular rating clearer to provide more guidance to parents. Now, if you look in the box where the rating appears, you’ll see a more detailed description in larger font explaining the rating.

Many parents are surprised to learn that the rating on a movie is not legally binding – there’s no law preventing theaters from letting kids in. Only parents can say – drag me to hell before I let you see that.